The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just Opened - July 18th, 2014 - "The Girls of Summer"

 It's summer, and "the boys of summer" has been a regluar part of beach lingo, so this week we explore music of "the girls of summer" - summer releases by women who make music.

Rediscovering a Dutch Master
Aleksandra Maslovaric, violin
ISBN# 8 52675 75731 1
Maslovaric and Feminae records have been instrumental in bringing works of female composers to light that might well be overlooked and forgotten.  In the case of Elizabeth Kuyper, we have a woman of considerable talent who was championed by Max Bruch.  A great way to hear great music, rediscover a little known artist, hear exceptionally talented musicians, and support women in the arts - all at once!

Caroline Leonardelli, solo harp
ISBN# 8 29982 15046 2
Thank you to Centaur Classics for providing us with promo copies of this CD for give-away to our listeners!
In the tradition of many great musicians whose work is "in the family,"  Leonardelli's mother was a harpist, and also a friend of the great international harpist Lilly Laskine.   At an early age, Leonardelli was studying at the Paris Conservatoire with Laskine.  This CD which focuses on french Composers of the late Romantic, early Modern era pays homage both to this great period of harp literature (shedding light on several rarely heard masterpieces), and her personal heritage with Laskine, including some works previously recorded by her teacher.  Leonardellis is quickly becoming my personal favorite harpist, with her exquisite technique and phrasing, and her taste in musical selections.  My Delight of the Week.

Marianna Shirinyan, piano
Odense Symphony Orchestra
Scott Yoo, cond.
ISBN# 0 90404 94082 8
Winner of 5 ARD International Music Competition awards in 2006, Shirinyan has become a frequent guest artist at music festivals internationally.  She has gained a reputation as one of the leading pianists of a new generation.  Here playing two Mozart piano concertos.

Seunghee Lee, clarinet
ISBN# 8 88174 45939 4
This is a delectable buffet of small melodic works where clarinet gives voice to the lyric line.  Famous hummable tunes from Brahms, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Puccini, Donizatti, and Bach, to name just a few.  The effect is a full program of audience-pleasing finales!  Many of these are transcribed by Ms. Lee herself, and indeed she gets as much praise for her talent at arrangement as her "warm, rich, round" tonality.

Divna Ljubojevic, vocals/cantor
For info. and CD purchase
Known simply as "Divna" this Serbian vocalist has carved a sizable name for herself in the world of sacred music and the interpretation of historic texts.  She is considered the leading specialist in the music traditions of Orthodox, Christian, and Byzantine churches.

We hope you enjoied these new releases by female artists, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fill Music Friday, July 11th

We continue to share releases old and new from our fill shelf - works that have been featured on Just Opened in the past, that (usually) feature many small cuts, making them perfect for "fill music."

5 CD compilation release (2008)
ISBN# 0 28947 80223 3
The Ultimate Guitar Collection #2
RCA 63713 (2000)
ISBN# 0 9026 63713 2 7
Richard Kapp, cond.
Philharmonia Virtuosi
RCA 61911 (1993)
ISBN# 0 9026 61911 2 3
Mela Tenenbaum
Richard Kapp, piano
ESS.A.Y. 1055 (1997)
ISBN# 0 90998 10553 5
Film Music Collection
2 CD Set (1998)
ISBN# 7 38572 10892 2
The Rembrandt Trio
DORIAN 90222 (1995)
ISBN# 0 53479 02222 6
works by CHOPIN
Various Artists/Compilation CD
D.G. 453 906 (1997)
ISBN# 0 28945 39062 8
Romantic Music for Cello & Orchestra
Various Artists/Compilation CD
NAXOS 555764 (2002)
ISBN# 7 47313 57642

We hope you've enjoied exploring these refreshing musical tidbits, a light musical snack for your summer listening.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Fill Music Friday" on June 27, 2014

We're having a summer vacation from "Just Opened" and exploring many of the wonderful, under-played works from our "fill shelf."  CDs that - for a variety of reasons - don't make it into our library "proper."  We hope you enjoy the variety of various releases old and new, and the random selections to add some spice to your summer Friday listening!

Music from the Film
SONY 62013 (1995)
Slovak Philharmonic Orch.
Ondrej Lenard, cond.
ISBN# 0 7464 62103 2 9
A Collection of Romantic Melodies
2 CD set
D.G. 477 6555 (2007)
various Composers and Artists
ISBN# 0 28947 76555 4
Renaissance Improvisation
Ensemble Doulce Memoire
DORIAN 90262 (1998)
ISBN# 0 53479 02622 4
Julian Lloyd Webber, cello
PHILLIPS 424 426 (1995)
ISBN# 0 28944 24262 1

Thomas Pandolfi, piano
Moravian Philharmonic Orch.
Peter Schmelzer, cond.
available online (2006)
ISBN# 7 07541 86302 5
Pandolfi's website
Classics for a New Age
Various Artists/Compilation CD
RCA 23041 (1996)
ISBN# 7 4321 23041 2 1

Greg Funfgeld, cond.
ANALEKTA 9873 (2009)
ISBN# 7 74204 98732 9
John Novacek, piano
w/ Steven Novacek, guitar
ARC 1008 (1991)
ISBN# 7 2661 81008 2 5
Ragtime works by Novacek, Lamb, Joplin,
Scott, Roberts, Johnson and Blake

Join us next week for varied listening to brighten your Friday afternoon!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 13, 2014

Just Opened - Friday June 13, 2014

Romeo and Juliet for Friday the 13th, along with some all time great piano concertos, violin duos, and solo guitar... Just Opened.

Alfonso Rega's Symphony No. 2
"I Pomeriggi Musicali" Milano
Heinrich Unterhofer, cond.
For more information and purchase, click here
Last year when we featured a recording of Rega's Symphony No. 7 inspired by the tradgedy of Sept. 11, we received feedback on how grateful people were for hearing the work, and its beauty.  See Rega's website for more about his thoughts on creating music that is both new and melodic.  The result is music that is both sweeping and accessible.  The strong use of guitar in this work is completely legitimate for a southern European setting, and heightens the ability to easily attach to this episodic orchestral work.  Alfonso Rega's work is worth getting to know - his works can update your music library and keep things melodic.

Jennifer Koh, violin
Jaime Laredo, violin
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble
Vinay Parameswaran, cond.
ISBN# 7 35131 91462 8
Two violinists join four-ses to approach works traditional and new, in a celebration of the teacher/student relationship.  The works by Anna Clyne and David Ludwig will be too challenging for some, but they are a good touchstone of where concert compositions are currently.  By now the once outre work "Echorus" of Glass has become a bit of a standard, and it stands there pointing toward these two newer works.  The opening work for 2 violins by Bach is a very good grounding to start things off in this CD of magnificent performances.  An adventuresome selection for your music shelf.
Piano Concertos
Stewart Goodyear, piano
Stanislav Bogunia, cond.
Czech National Symphony
ISBN #0 34062 30035 8
My Delight of the WeekJust a few weeks ago, I was thinking to myself that the Grieg piano concerto doesn't seem to get much attention now... and then this CD arrives.  This Canadian pianist is taking the world stage with rave reviews.  These 2 seminal, powerhouse romantic era concertos are a very good start for a growing "classical" music library.

Mak Grgic, guitar
MARQUIS 144720
ISBN# 7 74718 14472 0
Grgic is a young guitarist whose reputation is on the rise.  This CD features classic, well-loved melodies from film scores alongside traditional favorites of guitar repertoire.  The inventive "concept" of this "recital CD" keeps it fresh and accessible.  When people ask me for a good way to "introduce" others to classical music, I often reach for a CD like this one.  The combination of guitar, great works, and film tunes make it an excellent, musically non-threatening introduction to the world of fine music.  Another good pick to start your music library.

Just Opened will take a Summer Vacation and return in the fall with more great new releases.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just Opened, June 6th - Music Transcendent

Our theme today - Music Transcendent - sprang from Ivan Ilic's new release, music selections that reflect the philosophy of Emerson.  Continuing the theme, the works of jazz-influenced composer Frank Voltz in ambient works for harps, and even some explorations for tuba and brass.  And as ALL music is said to transcend our boundaries, we pair these CDs with more traditional works in new releases.

Ivan Ilic, piano
ISBN# 5 060268 640443
Ivan Ilic's Official Website
In full disclosure, I must admit to being a fan!  Ever since our interview 2 years ago, I have admired Ivan's "outside the box" way of approaching music, his breadth of knowledge and influences, and his willingness to go "all in" on off-the-beaten-path choices.  Not content with being a masterful international piano virtuoso, he also writes about the process:   Click here for an article by Ilic on how research deepens your musicianship.   Now, I must also disclose that I am fully aware that some of our listeners will not be along for this particular musical ride.  I know some of our listeners will find the intentional sonic simplicity of these works pedestrian, and others will think the sometimes painstakingly slow pace to be intolerably boring.   This music requires you to be along for the ride, and a "package" like this, put together with intelligence and intention by the artist requires a "buy in" from the listener to disengage from the hubbub and really listen.  For much of this "deconstructed" music it also helps if you study the scores, because some of these scores simply look like no sheet music you've ever seen!  Think of the score as a map to scale, where a quarter note equals an inch... a completely different way to - literally - look at music.  This is a bridge too far for some.  For others, a welcome invitation to engage in total immersion.  [To hear my extended 1/2 hour interview with Ilic from his previous release, click here. ]

Frank Voltz, harpist/composer
ISBN# 8 84501 23546 4
Frank Voltz's Official Website
My delight of the Week - for melody-driven, accessible new works.  Another accomplished and varied musician, Frank Voltz plays piano and organ in addition to harp, and his jazz and pop infused arrangements and new compositions have given a lift to many a church congregation and to many a harpist's repertoire (including my own).   If Ivan Ilic appeals to the intellect and the esoteric, Frank Voltz appeals to the heart-strings and the toes that want to tap.   Voltz has a way with infectious melody, and here in this cd also explores the more misty borders of a new-age-infused meditative ambiance.  It is worth noticing that "Ambiance" is the name of the first work on this CD, because it sets the tone for this entire collection.  (And in some respects, Voltz does view his CDs as collections... a unified whole with distinct parts.)   I've had the pleasure of meeting him, and his warmth and supportive humility are as infectious as his compositions.   His website makes it easy to listen to samples of his many recordings.  

Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4
Leif Ove Andsnes, pianist & director
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
SONY 370 5482
ISBN# 8 8883-70548-2 9
Official site of Leif Ove Andsnes
Andsnes has reached that rarified circle of solo artists who can "write his own ticket."  His Beethoven Journey series of recordings and international concerts in major venues with top-flight orchestras is an obvious confirmation of both his status and his musical standing.  It is a whole different level again, to have a soloist also conduct.  This way, we know we are truly hearing the soloist's "vision" of the way the work should sound, based his own study, knowledge, and interpretation.

Viola Sonatas & Trio Sonata Op. 114
Geraldine Walther, viola
David Korevaar, piano
Andras Fejer, 'cello
ISBN# 6 81585 14792 4
more about Geraldine Walther
"Prose does not do justice to this music." -- David Korevaar, from the liner notes of this CD.  When 3 highly acclaimed musicians get together to perform timeless works, we just have to sit back and enjoy.  A personal pleasure for me is the opportunity to hear the Viola featured front and center in works of a great composer who obviously enjoyed the often unexplored potential of this alto-voiced instrument.

New York Tuba Quartet
New York Brass Quintet
ISBN# 0 09414 722125 6
Tuba Quartet featured at 2014 New York Summer Music Fest
This CD is a compilation re-release of previously recorded works, with a focus on tuba, and new works.   We're sharing a few snippets from this CD today, and many of the larger, modern works on this CD continue our "transcendent" theme.... like Persichetti's "Parable" for brass quintet.  Our listeners already know that I have a soft spot for the tuba (just call me "our lady of the orchestral underdogs"), and if you like your sonic explorations brassy, this could help you take that trip!

Thank you for listening to new releases with me today.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just Opened, May 16, 2014

"Cinematic Visions of Love and Death" is our theme today on Just Opened, with releases that span the big emotions of romantic era solo & duo works, and the landscapes encompased by new concertos and guitar works.

Lynn Kuo, violin
Marianna Humetska, piano
LKCD 0001
ISBN# 8 59711 48113 0
A beautiful mixture of works on this first release CD on this private label.  Violinist Kuo has a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Toronto, and in addition to her solo work, is Chef d l'ensemble of Les Amis - a group that has toured Europe.  She has recorded works of Nino Rota on the Naxos label.

Yoonie Han, piano
ISBN# 0 34362 30030 3
Available digitally and on CD
My Delight of the Week.  South Korean pianist Yoonie Han has won top prizes in international competitions and accolades for her poetic and sparkling performances.  She made her debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at age 13, and has now performed around the world in major venues.  She has a bachelor's degree from the Curtiss Institute of Music, masters from The Juliard School, and is completing her Doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook.  She explores an unusual grooping of Romantic works inspired by Wagner's Liebestod, with works by Schubert, Hahn, Gluck, Prokofiev, and Granados.   Moving and accessible.

John Adams, composer
David Robertson, cond.
St. Louis Symphony
More information on City Noir & Saxophone Concerto
These two works by modern composer John Adams evoke the sound world of gritty late 1940s - 50s film noir.   The moodiness and sudden shifts of film score are built into the soundscape of these modern works.  For the Saxophone work, do not think the smooth stylings of love ballads, but more like the extended, sonically jerky improvizations of Gillespe... translated to the saxophone.  Much like a film score, these present a dark sonic world.

Chris Broom, composer
Patrick Jonsson, arranger
James Shearman, cond.
Thomas Gould, orchestra leader
Unusual for our Just Opened program, we present a CD that is a the musical equivalent of a composer and arranger postcard.  Two versions of one short work, one vocal, one instrumental.  This is the kind of CD sent out to drive people to the composer's website to learn more about him and hear more of his work.

and Around the World
Denis Azabagic, guitar
ISBN# 7 35--- 70052 8
More information on this release.
Multi-award winning guitarist Denis Azabagic invites listeners into a realm where world, folk, and classical music intersect on Out of Africa . . . and Around the Word, the Bosnia-born, Chicago-based virtuoso’s first solo album on Cedille Records.  Showcasing works by living composers, the album takes its title from American-born, British-based composer Alan Thomas’s evocative Out of Africa, inspired by the Karen Blixen memoir and movie of the same name. Thomas weaves together strands of African singing styles, scales, and rhythms, while paying homage to African string instruments, such as the kora and the oud.  An audience favorite is "Cafe Pieces" by Vojislav Ivanovic.

We hope you enjoied these!  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, May 9, 2014

Just Opened, May 9, 2014 - Artist's Forum

This week has a unified theme of artists who stand out as indivuals, both in terms of musical accomplishement, but also in terms of presentation and performance.  We have the full range, very traditional musicians performing exhaustive historical works, to boundary breaking artists who perform music.

Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
Helmut Deutsch, paino
SONY 3795652
ISBN# 8 8837 95632 1
Jonas Kaufmann's official website
One of Shubert's great gifts to posterity were his almost cinematic song cycles, including this story of a young man setting out in winter only to culminate his journey in seeing himself reflected in the life of a much older man.  The epitomy of the brooding romantic era, this is a dark musical journey, but it has been the cornerstone of many great vocalist's careers (and no, not just for male vocalists... one of the most inventive and effectively film-ic versions was performed by a mezzo). 

Stanislav Khristenko, piano
ISBN# 0 34062 30032 7
Official website of Khristenko
An up & coming virtuoso receiving international recognition creates a nod to romanticism with this grouping of works called "Fantasies."
Bora Yoon, artist

website for this release
Combining musical worlds from medieval chant to modern jazz, with multi-layered tracks and performance art that recalls some of the work of Bjork, this CD will clearly NOT be for many classical music listeners, but is worth recognizing as a valid portion of the auditory art world.  Yoon has a notable voice, and is adept on multiple instruments, which is displayed by overdubbing.  But, don't think musician or even artist, think: multimedia conceptual performance art.  For that reason, this CD will be hard for many to grasp, and arguably, not neccessarily the preferred form of the artist herself, since her performances incorporate elaborate visual elements, and to listen to the CD alone takes a portion.   (In much the same way a soundtrack is specifically created to enhance the visual imagery of film.)  From the website:  "Sunken Cathedral is a multimedia album release by Korean-American composer, vocalist, sonic surrealist Bora Yoon. Designed as an architectural journey through the chambers of the subconscious, each track on the album illuminates a different sonic “space,” which excavates the memories, insights, and intersections in which our greatest diamonds and demons are held. Sunken Cathedral traces death, life, rebirth and the cyclical/recom- binant nature of the universe; the alchemical moment of transmutation where one medium becomes another."

Ensemble Caprice
Matthias Maute, cond.
ISBN# 7 74204 98484 3
Ensemble Caprice is an "original instrument" group that I've had my eye (and ear) on for several years.  They combine musical eras in interesting and inventive ways, giving fresh musical insights to works both old and new in the process.  The have the combination of taking the musicianship seriously, and taking the music with a great deal of fun.  This particular CD, being adagios, has a darker tonal set than others, and consequently makes for a very interesting sonic pairing with Bora Yoon's release, above.   Full review of this CD  "This is not only one of the most beautiful classical albums of the year, it is also one of the most inventive."

The Complete Sonatas for 2 Violins
Gref Ewer & Adam Lamotte, violins
ISBN# 0 53479 21762 2
Review & purchase link for this CD set
The following review was written by a critic that has followed the performances and history of both of these artists, as they are part of his Oregon arts scene:  Review of this CD set  I'm so happy to be presenting music at a time when sets like this - meritorious works that have an intense focus on complete oevres by a particular composer - are available, performed by such accomplished artists.

Kara Dahl Russell


The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Public Radio Delmarva, its staff, members, underwriters, Salisbury University, or the Salisbury University Foundation. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information on this blog will be understood as official.